Put on your dancing shoes: Beloved cafe and dancehall Mobtown Ballroom opened this week in Station North’s historic North Avenue Market.
The cafe opened to customers Wednesday, and the first swing dance lesson and event will take place Friday.
Formerly based in Pigtown, Mobtown rose to prominence for providing a spot to cut loose under the roof of a refurbished 1800s church. About 12 years after opening, the business closed its doors in September 2023 because of landlord issues, Baltimore magazine reported, and headed across town.
In its new home at 30 W. North Ave., Mobtown brings an expanded menu and cocktail bar. The business, which previously served items like Ribwiches, Frito pies and fried pickles, was also known for its eclectic programming, from honky-tonk nights to belly dancing classes. The new iteration expects to bring people back to a corridor under transition.
Jack Danna, director of revitalization for the Central Baltimore Partnership, told The Banner Wednesday he was super excited to see the “additional feet” in the neighborhood.
“It’s huge,” he said of the arrival in Station North. “It [Mobtown] will have an oversized impact on how the new North Avenue Market will look and feel.”
The group provided Mobtown with thousands of dollars worth of tenant assistance to help usher them toward an opening. Danna said it was a small price to pay to ensure the success of the market, which is undergoing a $23 million restoration in the next year and a half.
Mobtown is the fourth tenant to move into the market; pop-up cocktail bar and cabaret Club Car, clothing store Currency Studio and the Baltimore Youth Arts entrepreneurship program are current occupants.
To Danna, Mobtown is the start of a new cultural hub for the city’s nearly 22-year-old arts district. The arts and culture programs unlock an opportunity to boost other businesses and show that a preservation-based project, like the North Avenue Market, can spark development in the community.
Mobtown’s opening comes months later than expected, following a lengthy inspection process. In the interim, staff from Pigtown remained on the payroll, according to Danna.
Their return to work will “enliven the ethos” of what Mobtown stands for, he said.
“We’re over the moon.”